Ontario to develop first critical minerals strategy

Aerial view of Newmont’s Musselwhite mine in Ontario. Credit: Natural Resources Canada

The Ontario government announced Wednesday it is developing its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy to help generate investment, increase the province’s competitiveness in the global market, and create jobs and opportunities in the mining sector.

The Strategy will also support Ontario’s transition to a low-carbon economy both at home and abroad. In 2019, Ontario produced over $10 billion worth of minerals, accounting for 22% of Canada’s total mineral production.

“By developing this Strategy, we will strengthen Ontario’s position as one of North America’s premier jurisdictions for responsibly-sourced critical minerals, including rare earth elements,” Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs said in a media statement.

In 2019, Ontario produced over $10 billion worth of minerals, accounting for 22% of Canada’s total mineral production

“We are confident this will generate investment, reduce red tape, create jobs and advance Indigenous participation in the sector. Local and global markets, including Ontario-based industries, are looking for reliable, responsibly-sourced critical minerals and we are ready to capitalize on this growing market demand,” Rickford said.

Ontario is well positioned to become a global supplier, producer and manufacturer for certain critical minerals, including, but not limited to nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group elements, he said.

“Industries across Ontario and around the world need a steady supply of critical minerals to support new technologies and emerging industries, including electric vehicles,” said Rickford.

New technologies and high-growth sectors that rely on critical minerals include information and communications technology, electronics, energy, aerospace and defence, health and life sciences and transportation.

“With an abundance of the critical minerals in Northern Ontario, along with a competitive business climate, innovation and talent, Ontario is well positioned to become a leader in the future of electric vehicle and battery manufacturing,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“Recent proposed investments of almost $6 billion over the last several months in Ontario’s auto sector will make our province a global hub for EV manufacturing, making us stronger and more resilient as we continue to work towards economic recovery.”

To inform the Critical Minerals Strategy, the Province is releasing a discussion paper for public consultation on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. A consultation with industry and Indigenous communities will also help guide the development of the Strategy – to be released this fall.